Wednesday, August 24, 2011

An interview with Alexander Alekhine

Alekhine was world chess champion from 1927 to 1935 and from 1937 until his death in 1946 (although the war prevented any matches for the title being held during this second part of his reign).

I apologise if this is a bit of a minority interest, but before this evening I had no idea that this recording existed.

Discussing the greatest chess players' styles back in 2007, I wrote:
Fischer's games were so easy to understand that he made you feel you could play that well yourself. Kasparov's play was so extraordinary that you had to play over his games twice before you could begin to understand what was going on.
Alekhine's play was very much in the Kasparov style. You have to play over his games twice too.

Finally, a linguistic point. The modern-day speaker at the start pronounces Alekhine's name correctly. The contemporary BBC announcer gets it wrong in a way that many British chess players do to this day.

The reason is that "Alekhine" is a French transliteration of a Russian name. It works perfectly well in French, but when English speakers pronounce this French name phonetically they end up with something that sounds very different from the original Russian.


Frank Little said...

BH Wood transliterated Alyokhin (or something like that) correctly, if I remember aright.

Jonathan Calder said...

The old brute had it about right.